I always said if you think money makes you rich think of all the things in your life that money cannot buy. Great parents who are annoyingly patient and understanding when their offspring is being unreasonable, a sister I wouldn’t trade for a king’s ransom, my health which I treasure, the music in my life, the freedom of my mind to think, thoughts that no currency can purchase, the esteem of friends because I must have done, something good in my years on earth, nothing comes from nothing, the fortune to have good teachers who signposted the way forward, the words of authors no longer alive, leaving legacies to provoke and stimulate the mind, animals who are unconditional in their love, five hundred things you take for granted like it was your imperial right instead of the benediction it really is.
All for free. And I am at the door of the psychologist’s office, marshalling my mental troops. Why am I here? I recall asking myself, berating myself, you don’t need a shrink, why are you doing this, you are not sick, you be cool, you can take the pressure.
Yes, easy to say, night after night the endless process of learning, day after day the assignments and the tutorials, dark sunken eyes propped open by toothpicks, hunger gnawing at your vitals even as you have no appetite. Words cascading in a torrent without respite.
I need to share, to lighten the burden, to feel kinship, no one knows what this hell is like and I will not lose, I am not a loser, all I need is a little help from my friend.
She is a friend in five minutes. In ten a confidante and by the time the minute hand circles past the half hour we are co-conspirators in the raid of the pharma factory.
They do it so well. With such practiced ease that you are beguiled into believing you have discovered salvation. See, it cannot be all bad, after all, everyone is on something and these are the experts. They make the studied recommendation.
She ropes me in, her concern so genuine that my misgivings melt like wax in a flame, she is now telling me that what I need is something to calm my nerves, relax and feel in control.
Spot on. Control is what I want and if I can get it by giving it away so be it.
She is telling me we will start slowly, with a very low dose and I will feel better for it. Somewhere in there that low dose angle absolves her of being reckless, calms the patient into a state of self-delusion and the thought of anxiety being banished is exciting. There is a niggling doubt that you are stepping into a quagmire but you cannot back off, you need a friend, remember. Everybody needs a bloody friend, it’s the defence against loneliness.
There is now a gentle shift into the possessive ‘we’. We will work this together. We will get you put things right.
My goodness, there is something wrong, it has to be put right. It is now collective. We are in it together.
She is writing out a prescription. I am golden. Sorted.
Then why do I feel like I have just been soiled given away something I cannot pin down. Could it be peace of mind, the price for chemical calm.